WITH plans to build a high speed maglev route between Berlin and Hamburg now forgotten, German Railway is forging ahead with upgrading of its main line between the two cities to allow 230 km/h running. Work during 2003 alone is costing €220m. From July 14 to September 27 the main line will be shut over the 90 km between Nauen and Neustadt (Dosse) to allow upgrading work to proceed unhindered.

Work scheduled during the blockade includes stabilising the formation over 13 km, replacement of nine level crossings by bridges, and reconstruction of a bridge over the Grosser Havelländische canal, together with rebuilding of a major road bridge in Nauen.

At the same time 16 sets of points will be replaced and resignalling work carried out. ICE and IC services will be diverted via Stendal with journey times extended by up to 25min. Some regional services will be replaced by buses.

Once the upgrading has been completed next year, DB expects to cut the fastest inter-city journey times over the 264 km route to 93min.